TV Review: Dramatic Season-Three Premiere of ‘HawthoRNe’ With Jada Pinkett Smith

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CHICAGO – The popular cable TV series “HawthoRNe” throws down a dramatic Season 3 premiere, featuring the star talents of Jada Pinkett Smith and a great supporting cast. The medical series returns on TNT Network on June 14th. Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

This is a “throw the kitchen sink at it” premiere, chock full of surprises, soap operatic turns and strong performances from a well seasoned cast. Jada Pinkett Smith is the rock solid centerpiece as Christina Hawthorne, Chief Nursing Officer at an action-packed hospital. The series continues its focus on the relationships within the ensemble, including the romance between Christina and Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan).

At the end of the second season, Christina finds out she is pregnant by Dr. Tom, and the third chapter opens with their nuptials. In the context of all medical dramas, there is an accident nearby that interrupts the vows, but the team is there to take care of the situation. What begins as a celebration, ends up back at the hospital, where all the main action naturally occurs.

Righteous RN: Jada Pinkett Smith is the Chief Nursing Office in ‘HawthoRNe’
Righteous RN: Jada Pinkett Smith is the Chief Nursing Office in ‘HawthoRNe’
Photo credit: TNT

Nurse Hawthorne continues to nurture her well-juggled life. She is joined by ER nurse Bobbie Jackson (Suleka Mathew), who has to make some big decisions in this episode. Detective Nick Renata (Marc Anthony), working on a case at the hospital, lets some feelings slip out for Christina. And support staff Nurse Kelly (Vanessa Lengies) and the hospital CEO, John Morrissey (James Morrison), have their own demons to explore. Luckily, Christina has her daughter Camille (Hannah Hodson) to keep her grounded.

This series has the creator pedigree of John Masius, who worked on the legendary “St. Elsewhere,” and was also the creator of “Providence” and “Touched by an Angel.” He imbues Hawthorne with a dramatic, emotional edge that gives it something going on beyond just the story. And although he casts more in the direction of “Grey’s Anatomy” (attractive people intermingling in a hospital), the series moves to take the relationships to a different level.

Jada Pinkett Smith, both the star and executive producer, uses her very appealing nature and acting talents to give Nurse Hawthorne the appropriate starched collar. She is asked to do a lot in the third season premiere and handles the whole range of emotions very effectively. The addition of Marc Anthony as a wrench in the happiness of her new coupling with Vartan’s Dr. Wakefield is destined to make the subsequent episodes even more interesting.

Going to the Chapel: Christina Hawthorne and Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan) in ‘HawthoRNe’
Going to the Chapel: Christina Hawthorne and Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan) in ‘HawthoRNe’
Photo credit: TNT

The rest of the supporting cast, including Suleka Mathew, Vanessa Lengies, Derek Luke and Hannah Hodson, are all fine performers who handle some cliché hospital drama circumstances with a sense of presence. Yes, again, they were all hired for their looks as well, but the cast and production is more mature than just the Grey’s Anatomy-style pillow talk redundancy.

In its production notes, it is notable that Hawthorne is one of the top scripted TV shows on cable for a woman audience. Because of the Jada Pinkett Smith lead and the strong women surrounding her, the philosophy and purpose behind the character of Christina Hawthorne makes this show highly watchable.

”HawthoRNe” starts its second season Tuesday, June 14th at 10pm EST/9pm CST on TNT. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Vartan, Marc Anthony, Suleka Mathew, James Morrison, Vanessa Lengies and Hannah Hodson. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

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